Roundtable to Discuss Comprehensive Action Plan to Promote Digital and Media Literacy

Digital and Media Literacy, A Plan of Action

Digital and Media Literacy, A Plan of Action; A White Paper (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – Americans are constantly trying to keep up with the latest digital tools and technologies. Whether it’s touch screen computers, smart phones, or user-generated news sites, access to information does not automatically translate into knowing how to use these tools in effective ways that help people in their everyday lives. From parents concerned with online safety issues, to students searching for information online at home, schools and libraries, to everyday citizens looking for accurate and relevant health care and government resources, all Americans can benefit from learning how to access, analyze, and create digital and media content with thoughtfulness and social responsibility.

This was one of the key recommendations of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy in its landmark report, Informing Communities, issued last year. This blue ribbon commission of 17 luminaries recommended that digital and media literacy be viewed as a critical element in all levels of education, and with institutions such as libraries in local communities.

Ensuring that citizens are equipped with the analytical and communications skills they need to be successful in the 21st century will require a comprehensive plan that positions digital and media literacy as an essential life skill and integrates it into advocacy campaigns, education curricula, and community-based initiatives across the nation. To address this need, Professor Renee Hobbs (founder of the Media Education Lab, Temple University) has outlined a plan with specific steps that policymakers, educators, and community advocates can take to help Americans thrive in the digital age.

To mark the release of the paper and discuss its implications, the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are hosting a high-level roundtable discussion featuring representatives from government, education, and other areas Wednesday, November 10, from 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Aspen Institute’s Washington office. This discussion will take place immediately following the paper’s release at the Family Online Safety Institute’s annual conference on Internet Freedom, Safety & Citizenship. This is the second in a series of White Papers focused on the Knight Commission’s 15 recommendations for creating healthy informed communities.


Featured Speaker, Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication and founder of the Media Education Lab, Temple University

Roundtable participants include:

  • Kat Aaron, Knight Media Policy Fellow, New America Foundation
  • Kwasi Asare, Associate Director, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology
  • Susan Benton, President and CEO, Urban Libraries Council
  • Mamie Bittner, Deputy Director for Policy, Planning, Research, and Communications, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • John Bracken, Director of Digital Media, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Robin Bronk, CEO, The Creative Coalition
  • Idit Caperton, President and Founder, World Wide Workshop Foundation
  • Michael Copps, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • David Crowley, President and Founder, SCI Social Capital Inc.
  • Charlie Firestone, Executive Director, Communications and Society Program, Aspen Institute
  • Jessica Goldfin, Journalism Associate, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Blair Levin, Communications and Society Fellow, Aspen Institute
  • Christopher Lohse, Strategic Initiative Director, Information Systems and Research, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • William Reinhard, Media Relations Director, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Michael Rich, Director, Center on Media and Child Health
  • Alan Simpson, Vice President of Policy, Common Sense Media
  • Roberta Stevens, President, American Library Association
  • Marijke Visser, Assistant Director, Office of Information Technology, American Association of School Librarians


A roundtable discussion on digital and media literacy with key policymakers and other education, technology, and media leaders. A copy of Professor Hobbs’ paper, Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action will also be released and available at

***Please note that space is extremely limited.  Please RSVP to or 202.667.0901.


One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036. For those that cannot attend in person, please call in to 1-877-810-5695 PIN 7365851 (listening purposes only).


Wednesday, November 10, 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET


The roundtable will begin with a presentation by Professor Hobbs of her policy paper, followed by discussion among the invited roundtable participants about the recommendations and how they may best be implemented. It will begin with a buffet lunch served at 11:45 a.m.

Interviews can be arranged by contacting Rachel Zaentz at or 202.667.0901.

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy was a blue ribbon panel of seventeen media, policy and community leaders that met in 2008 and 2009. Its purpose was to assess the information needs of communities, and recommend measures to help Americans better meet those needs. Its Report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, was the first major commission on media since the Hutchins Commission in the 1940’s and the Kerner and Carnegie Commissions of the 1960’s.

The Commission’s aims were to maximize the availability and flow of credible local information; to enhance access and capacity to use the new tools of knowledge and exchange; and to encourage people to engage with information and each other within their geographic communities. Among its 15 recommendations the Commission argues for universal broadband, open networks, transparent government, a media and digitally literate populace, vibrant local journalism, public media reform, and more local public engagement.

The Knight Commission is a project of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

2 responses to “Roundtable to Discuss Comprehensive Action Plan to Promote Digital and Media Literacy

  1. Pingback: January 2011 M-Passioned Member: Mary Ann Allison : National Association for Media Literacy Education·

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